Committee approves full-time worker bill News added by Benefits Pro on February 5, 2014

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By Allison Bell

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee today voted 23-14 to pass H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act bill.

For purposes of applying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act employer “shared responsibility” coverage mandate, the bill would define a full-time worker as an employee who works 40 hours or more per week.

PPACA now defines a full-time employee as an employee who works 30 or more hours per week.

PPACA requires employers that have the equivalent of 50 or more full-time employees to provide a minimum level of health coverage if one or more workers apply for coverage from a PPACA health insurance exchange.

Part-time workers count when employers are calculating the number of full-time equivalents they have, but employers subject to the PPACA “play or pay” mandate penalties tied to the number of actual full-time workers they have. When employers are calculating the actual penalty payment amounts, they can exclude part-time workers.

Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., the sponsor, said the 30-hour limit is encouraging many employers to limit hours to avoid penalties.

“An employee seeing their hours cut from 39 hours to 29 hours will lose an entire week’s paycheck over the course of a month,” Young said.

Democrats on the committee said the bill would gut the coverage mandate by letting employers classify workers who work as many as 39 hours per week as part-time workers.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., noted that Ways and Means leaders gave the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation only a week to analyze the bill.

Budget analysts have not yet estimated how the bill might affect federal spending, taxes or the federal budget deficit, Becerra said.

“We’re essentially voting in the blind,” Becerra said.

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